Cyprichromis is a Friendly Family Man

Quite a large number of cichlids from African lakes are territorial and aggressive species. But there are also pleasant exceptions. For example, representatives of the Ziprichromis genus are one of the calmest cichlids, the content of which will only bring pleasant moments. In our article, we will tell you more about these interesting schooling fish.


General information

Cyprichromis sp. Is a genus of freshwater ray-finned fish from the Tsikhlov family. It currently includes five species that are widespread in the African lake Tanganyika.

This is one of the most colorful lake cichlids. Differs in good endurance and calm character can be recommended for beginner breeders. In nature, fish live in open water, gathering in huge (up to several thousand individuals) schools. They feed on zooplankton, their unusual mouth apparatus is adapted to this, which can very quickly be drawn into a narrow tube, which allows it to suck in small aquatic organisms.

In the aquarium, they prefer to swim in the middle and upper parts.

The fish get along well with peaceful cichlids and can be used to create common aquariums. Reproduction at home is not difficult, care for the offspring is characteristic.


Cyprichromis have an elongated, graceful body 9 to 12 cm long. The mouth is straight with tapered teeth on the jaws (three on the upper and four on the lower). He is able to stretch far forward.

The anal and dorsal fins are elongated, the tail is two-lobed. The color is unusually diverse. Each species has several geographic morphs. Blue and yellow shades prevail. Unpaired fins are often very dark, almost black.

Life expectancy is about 8 years.


All cyprichromis are endemic to the African lake Tanganyika. This is one of the largest reservoirs of the planet, which has a tectonic origin.

Fish are widespread throughout the lake, preferring open spaces where they gather in large schools. Most often they can be found at depths of 5-30 m, they gravitate towards large stones.

Care and maintenance

To make the cyprichromis feel as comfortable as possible, they should be kept in flocks. The minimum number of individuals is 6-7, but it is better if there are 10-15 fish. Unlike other cichlids, the prevalence of males over females is encouraged in cyprichromis. Thanks to this, they show their color better and do not bother the females with excessive attention.

For 10 fish, an aquarium of 100 liters or more will be optimal. It is very important that it has a cover or coverslip. Zyprichromis are incredibly jumping fish, and are able to slip away even into a small gap.

Setting up an aquarium for cytochromes can be quite ascetic. Sand is laid on the bottom and several large stones are installed. There are no living plants in the natural biotopes of fish, but islands can be made from Vallisneria or Elodea if desired. After all, cyprichromis are completely indifferent to greenery. In this case, the space for free swimming should be maximum.

Zyprichromis love clean and well-aerated water, so it is important to take care of good filtration and install a compressor of suitable capacity. You will also need a thermostat because these cichlids are thermophilic.

Once a week, you should replace 20% of the water in the aquarium with fresh water. Cyprichromis are very sensitive to the chlorine content of the water, so be sure to prepare it with a Tetra AquaSafe conditioner. It not only instantly removes chlorine, but also binds heavy metals and enriches the water with beneficial vitamins and colloids. The water in Lake Tanganyika is quite mineralized, so its hardness should be medium, and the pH is shifted to the alkaline side.

Optimum water parameters for the content: T = 24-27 ° C, pH = 7.8-9.0, GH = 10-25.


Zyprichromis is one of the calmest cichlids. They get along well both with their own relatives and with other non-conflict neighbors. During the spawning period, skirmishes between males can be observed, but the fish do not seriously injure each other. An interesting fact: only monochromatic cichlids conflict with each other. For example, blue-tailed individuals will chase blue-tails, but quite calmly swim next to yellow-tails.

Flock keeping is very important for cyprichromis. In its absence, males lose their color, spawning becomes unstable. If there are only two males in the group, then one will oppress the other, and no longer physically, but “morally” – the subdominant male will be under constant stress and become faded.

The most suitable neighbors for cyprichromis will be other Tanganyika cichlids – yulidochromis, lamprologus, telmatochromis, xenotylapia.

It is better not to combine these peaceful cichlids with aggressive fish (especially representatives of the Mbuna group).

Feeding cyprichromis

Under natural conditions, cyprichromis are typical plankton-feeders. With the help of its mouth, which is able to quickly stretch into a narrow tube, the fish collect small crustaceans.

At home, quality dry food, preferably with a high plant content, such as Tetra Malawi, Tetra AlagaeMix or TetraPRO Algae Multi-Crisps, is the best choice. Flakes or chips are most suitable. They stay on the surface longer, it is the small pieces of these feeds that are most convenient for cytochromes to eat. These feeds are highly digestible and contain a complex of vitamins to maintain the good health and longevity of fish.

Tetra FreshDelica with Daphnia will be an excellent addition to your diet. But bloodworms and tubifex are best excluded from the diet.

Zyprichromis in nature spend in search of food almost all day, so it is best to feed the fish several times a day.

Reproduction and breeding

The ease of reproduction of cytochromes at home is another undoubted plus of this cichlid. There is no need to create any specific conditions. In a species aquarium, you will get offspring very quickly.

If there is a female in the aquarium ready to spawn, one or more males will begin courting her. The mating dance is expressed in the vibration of the fins. The female accepting courtship lays up to 15 eggs (4 mm in size) in succession and immediately collects them in her mouth. Fertilization also takes place there. Further development of eggs continues in the mother’s mouth. Unlike many other cichlids, females of cytochromes do not try to hide and sit out until the fry appears in the shelter. They remain full-fledged members of the pack.

It is recommended to make fewer volumetric water changes during the gestation period.

Egg incubation takes about a month. A fully formed fry, about 1 cm in size, is born. They are immediately ready to receive dry food for fry, such as TetraMin Baby. Adults with cyprichromis do not pose a threat to the younger generation. On the contrary, fry surrounded by the older generation feeds much more actively. Fish reach sexual maturity at the age of about a year.

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